Posing in white

Posing in white

Flakes of white
My soul delight
Nina Fussing 2013

I had a completely different post planned for you today. A rather typical update of our last few days of nomadic adventures sprinkled with a few hikes, a couple of lovely sunsets…even a visit with some wonderful bloggers of feathery slant (all will be revealed in due time)

But then magic happened…

Surrounded by a winter wonderland...in the desert!

Surrounded by a winter wonderland…in the desert!

Now that's a sight you don't often see in the desert

Now that’s a sight you don’t often see in the desert

White flakes linger on the mesquite trees

White flakes linger on the mesquite trees

Snow on cactus

Snow on cactus

A white wonderland opened in the desert and everything I’d planned went out the window. The picture that painted itself before us was a flurry of snow’s delight, a dreamy landscape of winter dreams, an all-enveloping pillow of pure delight. THIS was blogging worthy news that just had to be shared right away. So we stayed home to take in the show and report the results. In the depth of the desert, in the heart of the wilds, we’ve experienced a snowy miracle. And OH IT IS GLORIOUS!

We’re hanging at Catalina State Park just north of Tucson, AZ. We’ve been here a few days now and have done, well….absolutely nothing. It’s simply too relaxing, too naturally enticing to go anywhere. You know the type of spot. So we’ve been hanging, and hiking and generally basking in the mountains and the warm sunshine.

Until today.

Today is a different day. Overnight a wild storm started brewing with a forecast for cold chills and snow levels falling to ~2000 feet. Our superbly handy phone app (WeatherBug) alerted us to the impending blizzard with an alarm yesterday afternoon, so we tucked everything away and waited for the show to start. The night wind blew but otherwise mother nature stayed her course. Then this AM the temperatures started dropping, grey clouds rolled in and the magic engaged. First a touch, then a light caress, then a snowy blanket deepened on the ground. It’s 2:00pm, the temperature is registering just around freezing and our cozy little RV is surrounded by crazy, splendid white wilderness.

Likely this picturesque delight will not last long. As I sit here blogging my last few words the sky has already opened to up a pale blue and the white dream is starting to melt. It may only have lasted an afternoon, but it was magical indeed.

First flurries of snow on the window

First flurries of snow on the window

White Dreams

White Dreams

Calm after the storm

Calm after the storm

A prickly picture

A prickly picture

A white pose

And an unusual RV view

And an unusual RV view

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68 Responses to A Magical Afternoon Of SNOW! Tucson, AZ

  1. Wow! I’m so happy for you to be experiencing a little winter weather. And a little jealous too. Keep on having fun and enjoying this wonderful lifestyle.

  2. Marsha says:

    That is beautiful but glad we are in sunny Texas. I have seen my fill of snow to last a life time.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I can totally understand that. I grew up in Asia and didn’t see my first snow until I was a teenager, so it still has that special draw for me, but if I’d spent years in it I might feel differently. In a few days we’ll be back in T-shirts.
      Nina

  3. Gunta says:

    LOVE the “snow on cactus” shot! Your snowstorm is much like ours here on the coast. They don’t happen often and when they do, they’re here and gone rather quickly. It looks like just as much fun having it snow out in the desert!

  4. Sue Howell says:

    Welcome to Tucson! I have been following your blog for awhile now and am inspired by your sense of adventure and exploration. Thought I would say “hey” since you are here in the Old Pueblo. While I love Tucson (I had better…I have lived here for over 45 years) I look forward to my own full-time journey in a little over a year. I’m inspired by you and others who choose to share their insights and perspectives about life on the road. So thank you.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Happy to be here and congrats on your upcoming travels! I do love AZ in the winter. Not so sure I’d want to be here in the summer, but it’s a beautiful spot regardless.
      Nina

  5. terry says:

    Our first winter living here and it snows! love it! don’t forget we are right up the road (off Golder Ranch Rd) if you want to get together while you are in town — Martha, Terry and Charlie

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi Martha,
      Not sure how much visiting we’ll be doing here in Catalina. We’re being ridiculously lazy at the moment and enjoying it way too much. But I’ll let you know if we make it out of hibernation before we head south.
      Nina

  6. Gary Kula says:

    Great pics! Great timing to be in the desert during a snowfall. I love your blogs, I’ve been following them ever since we started full timing about six months ago.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Happy to have you along for the ride! Congrats on the fulltiming too. It took us about 6 months to really get into it, so you’re coming into prime-time now.
      Nina

  7. Candace says:

    Ohhhh …. NOW I am getting homesick … for Sierra Vista. I used to LOVE it when we had a little snow. It stayed on the top of Huachuca Mountain all winter- even when the valley was clear. Enjoy – and thanks for sharing the pictures of the magic with us :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I DO think there’s something extra-special about snow in the desert. It’s just so surreal to see it on the cactus.
      Nina

    • Lonnie Whelan says:

      Candace, I remember that from when I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca in the ’70s. I was only there a year but fell in love with the area and wish I could return for good.
      Lonnie, Indianapolis Indiana

  8. Wow, that is so darn beautiful. All we had when we were there was just frostings on the ground and snow dusting in the Catalinas and you guys got the white stuff. Beautiful pictures too! The park looked so different.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s been a crazy transformation. Just yesterday we were walking around in T-shirts and getting hot. Now we’ve got our hats and sweaters out. Wild!
      Nina

  9. rjrvtravels says:

    WOW – we are at Picacho State – also North of Tucson but west of you and not as high. Really kinda neat to see snow in the desert.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, it’s a special treat. Even more so because I know it won’t last long. By the way I hadn’t heard of that State Park so just looked it up….very interesting!
      Nina

  10. Lisa says:

    Isn’t this wonderful! We had a good inch or so even in South Tucson! As a snow deprived Southern California girl I LOVE SNOW! Rosie absolutely hated it! :-)

    How long will you be at Catalina? We arrive on 2/25.

    Lisa and Hans

    • libertatemamo says:

      Me too…I’m LOVING this short-term snow show. We’re staying here until 26th so looks like we’ll have a day overlap. We’ll be in loop A campground so come over and look us up!
      Nina

      • Lisa says:

        Sounds good. We have site B11. We’ll stop by and say hello!

        • libertatemamo says:

          Oh excellent!! Yes, please come by. I just read your blog this AM and was about to ask you if you were coming to Catalina. Looks like you read my mind! We are in A24 and Alex and Ellen are over in ringtail loop.

  11. earthdancerimages says:

    We are watching that same storm approach us! It is now hanging over the Black Range Mountains! Hopefully the snow will not make it to Truth or Consequences NM! Brrrrrrr! Windy and cold here!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I noticed alot of snow fall just West of you by the Gila Mountains on the satellite map. And I WELL remember those famous New Mexico winds from when we travelled there in 2011. Here’s hoping you stay warm!
      Nina

  12. twoscamps says:

    Looks like a lot of snow in Catalina! Just found your blog through Mark’s BCB. Great photos. Stay warm. Also just so you know…. when that snow melts the washes will flood and sometimes you can’t leave Catalina. It’s such a great place to be stranded. -Maureen

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow…how interesting about those washes. I was just remarking to Paul yesterday that it looks like we’re camped in a wash here. Just so much green and trees compared to the surrounding hills.
      Nina

  13. Vivian & Richard van Dijk says:

    Richard and I are in Phoenix -actually – Queen Creek. It is COLD here. It rained most of the day, and just now, it started spitting again. Seems it is now over.

    We left Yuma and 80 degree weather .. We’ll be here for a week or so, then back to Anza Borrego for a few days, hoping to see the wild flowers I am SURE must just be waiting for me.
    Richard/Ginger

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s COLD here too!! I do hope the flowers start to bloom soon. I love the desert bloom and can’t wait for it!
      Nina

  14. Deas Nealy says:

    Looks beautiful. Since you guys are plugged in, I was wondering if you are keeping warm with the LP or using space heaters. We hit 28 degrees in our new RED 34 (single pane windows) and my furnace was running quite a bit to stay warm. We need to run the aft furnace to keep the bays heated.

    Stay warm!

    • libertatemamo says:

      So far our little space-heater has served us just fine. We haven’t had to turn on the furnace yet, but we do also have double-pane windows, plus MCD shades, plus reflectix. Tomorrow we move to a non hook-up site so will have to pull out the Mr.Buddy and start sucking some propane.
      Nina

  15. Ingrid says:

    We’re hanging at Gilbert Ray Campground (south of Saguaro National Park)and I’ve been out running around taking photos. It’s so pretty to see the cacti topped with snow….enjoy….stay warm!

  16. heyduke50 says:

    what you call magical i call tragic… I hate snow…

    • libertatemamo says:

      I grew up in warm climates so snow still has a special draw for me. I don’t think I could handle a whole winter of it, but a few days is magical.
      Nina

  17. Jjcruisers says:

    We were dining at Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe on N. Silverbell when the clouds lifted and we saw the Catalina Mountains. I thought the storm was over, but it wasn’t. Two hours later, we drove back to our site at Gilbert Ray campground in heavy wet snow. Beautiful!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, the snow melted and then it started snowing again at about 5PM. We’ve got another 2 inches out there. Enjoy your time at GIlbert Ray!
      Nina

  18. Jan says:

    Great pictures glad you are away from Superstition Mountains as a woman is lost there and this will be second night in this weather.

  19. Ray Burr says:

    Great photos! Last year we were in Albuquerque and had a similar event, 75 degrees arrival day and the next morning woke up to 6-8 inches of snow. It then melted by noon and back in the 70s. I remember a bit of panic ensued as the snow got heavy and was breaking all the trees above folks rigs and awnings and slide toppers were sagging.. The surrounding mountains looked great. We are in Palm Springs and the are all frosted up from this last storm.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We had another 2 inches fall this evening so it’s all white (again!). Just pulled in our water hose since it might freeze overnight. I still think it’ll melt tomorrow so should be short-lived, but it’s been sweet!
      Nina

  20. LuAnn says:

    As soon as I heard how much snow Tucson had received, I said to Terry, “there is a post coming soon” and here it is! Wish we were there to revel in the beauty. How did Polly like the snow? We have had rain all day but central Phoenix received some snow. I remember these type of days when I lived here. We would all rush out to the desert to take photos of snow on the cacti. Enjoy!

  21. Luke Alexander says:

    We are over at Lazydays RV Park and the snow has been heavy on and off all day. Nothing sticking, but wonderful to look at. Charlie the kitty will not go out the door. He is mystified.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah our cats are NOT HAPPY either. They’re looking at me like “what did you do?”. They’ve spent the whole day cuddling and sleeping in their beds.
      Nina

  22. I am just tickled by your snow delight! You’d wax poetic and jump outta your shoes if you stood in my house looking out the windows! What part of Asia were you in? I maybe haven’t mentioned I was an international student advisor for 25+ yrs & love my past students dearly. We’re still waiting for that magic used SUV to materialize and we’re on the road! Your enthuisiasm is terrific! Happy travels & cheers from (snowy) Mt. Shasta!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’ve lived all over Asia. Grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong. Then returned as an adult to Hong Kong and worked in Taiwan for several years. Travelled all over. My brother still lives there and I have alot of friends there. A part of my heart will always be in Asia :)
      Nina

      • Muy cool. Me, too. My connections are mainly Japanese and Thai. I had a student who was an elephant trainer from the Singapore Zoo & on sabbatical, I got to ride on it! Japanese folks who went to our teensy school 25 yrs ago are now coming back to visit. Last visitor, who drives a Mercedes in downtown Tokyo, we took to a crab feed. Funny and wonderful all around….lucky us! Thanks so much for the fun you share.

  23. jil mohr says:

    still snowing in Benson…it is beautiful and the real beauty is you know it won’t last too long….:)

  24. Love it! What an exciting day for southern Arizona. We enjoyed the snow at Gilbert Ray but are glad that it won’t stick around long. Polly looks to be enjoying herself in the white stuff.

  25. Chris says:

    Were in Tucson as well and what a wonderful day it was, loved every snowflake, go figure, we’re from B.C. Canada and have snow but didn’t realize I was feeling a little homesick. Needed the snow to feel content.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think a short snow-fall like this can make just about anyone nostalgic. It’s just a passing show….so much fun!
      Nina

  26. placestheygo says:

    Being from the northeast, we escaped to get away from this stuff. But I must admit that it certainly does paint the desert differently and it is beautiful. So glad you got to enjoy this event. I bet Polly just loved it!

    We didn’t have the storms here in Las Vegas but the mts took on quite a bit of snow. Very pretty landscape.

    I saw that you haven’t been to Valley of Fire. You must change some plans and get there. It is so amazing. We have only done a day but we are moving there Sunday or Monday (depending on John’s back) for at least a week. What I really liked was the open hiking available because of the huge slab rocks. There are few to no cactus. A great place for dogs. We’ll post lots of pictures next week.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Valley of Fire is definitely on our list of spots to go. We “may” go through NV on our way north this year. Still haven’t completely finalized our plans.
      Nina

  27. Bob Nuttmann says:

    Went to the University of Arizona Museum of Art a few weeks back. It is close to you. The best native American exhibits I have ever seen. Wonderful collections of pots and baskets, plus extensive and very good displays on the many many tribes that inhabit and inhabited the Arizona area. Just a donation to get in.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Cool! I don’t know how much sightseeing we’ll get done during our time here in Tucson. So far, we really haven’t done much except hang out and enjoy the Catalina Mountains.We’ll see…
      Nina

  28. Sue says:

    We’re so glad you guys enjoy the snow. As Pam said, we left to escape that white stuff, so we’re not as happy to see it. That being said, I was out taking pictures of the snowy Superstitions and am fascinated by the look of cactus and snow together. Lewis, however, is insane about the snow. He rolls snowballs with his nose! Life is good…..

  29. Douglas Hinman says:

    Great pics of the snow around Tucson and Catalina State Park! If you get a chance to visit Picacho Peak state park it is a great campground, some good hikes around there also. That is the location of the only battle in Arizona area during the Civil War. I cant remember who won tho. Enjoy the snow, Tucson has had more snow than we have had here in Central Oregon this year I think! Doug H

  30. cheryl b. here/now says:

    Not only is the snow magical but hubby’s Keen sandals with socks are the BEST winter gear—love it! I have my own and refuse to give up the vagabond lifestyle.

    • libertatemamo says:

      What a coincidence…that’s exactly the same footwear I have! My Keens have served me from beach to snow and all the hiking in-between. Love those things!
      Nina

  31. Yup, same thing here in Benson. We hear you care coming to visit. Yay!

  32. […] you could easily pass all day here just sitting around in camp and looking at the mountains (we certainly did!). Park does get very popular in winter so definitely book ahead if you want to stay here. A lovely […]

  33. […] for the season. We reached a toasty 85°F (=29°C) in our little spot…and this compared to SNOW that we saw this same week last year just 60 miles north in Tuscon! The forecasted heat wave was the whole reason we moved to higher […]

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